Various Artists
"Working Class Rock Star"

(Cinema Epoch/Unstable Ground)

RATING: 8.5/10

As LAMB OF GOD's Randy Blythe bluntly states on "Working Class Rock Star" about those desiring to "make it" in the hard scrabble world of extreme (or perhaps eclectic in the case of TUB RING) music: "you better be prepared to eat shit and suffer; otherwise, you're a punk-ass" (or words to that effect). It sums up well the message of this DVD: the myth of the "rock star" in any segment of the heavy music genre, save for a fractional percentage, was shattered long ago. The musicians that slog it out year after year do it because they love it, not because they think they'll get rich, a few deluded personalities notwithstanding.

"Working Class Rock Star" follows TUB RING, 3 MILE SCREAM, and BLOODSHOTEYE as they lovingly ply their trades, while logging miles on the road to play to half empty clubs for paltry sums; chase record deals; and deal with all the personal trials and tribulations that come with "the life". Frank discussions are also held with members of BYZANTINE, HIMSA, KATAKLYSM, ARCH ENEMY, GWAR, UNEARTH, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FINNTROLL, THE HAUNTED, DAIQUIRI, RPO, BLEEDING THROUGH, DOG FASHION DISCO, 40 BELOW SUMMER, BAD ACID TRIP, and NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED as well. Legendary Canadian guitarist Frank Marino (MAHOGANY RUSH) gives a particularly insightful view into the meat grinding that is the music industry and the dramatic changes that have afflicted it over the past several decades. The editing throughout the documentary is exceptional. The segments flow smoothly and generate a sort of cinematic synergy.

The story behind the hard work of Leamington, Ontario's BLOODSHOTEYE is especially engrossing, as the personal sacrifices of the band members are brought to the fore. While trying to survive on meager funds and recording an album 12 hours from home, you get a bird's eye view into the struggle of vocalist Jessica Desjardins and guitarist Shane Ivy as they balance life on the road with the raising of a daughter. Fortunately, Jessica and Shane are able to rely on their respective sets of parents to care for the child when they are not home.

If nothing else, you'll think of "Working Class Rock Star" the next time you're trying to decide if you should by some merch at the next underground show. Your purchase may very well allow a band to put enough gas in the van to make it to the next gig.

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